Hey friends, just a quick note to encourage you this week as you are walking out your faith or trying to raise your family.  I would be willing to bet that you are doing better than you think…and if you don’t think you are, give yourself a minute to pause, take some deep breaths and reset the week!

I found myself in the weeds of life recently, and after a few conversations with friends, I decided to step back and look at the garden!  My neighbor is a phenomenal gardener and I often watch her from my porch.  I’m sure she wishes I did better on my flowers, but goodness, keeping those beds weeded and the flowers pruned is so much work.  But it’s worth it.  I watch her pull weeds, then step back and admire her garden.  This is exactly what I needed to do recently in my parenting.  You see, I was so focused on the weeds, I wasn’t seeing just how beautiful my children were.  Now, if you have a garden you probably understand this.  You love your garden and you want it to look beautiful.  When you look at it, you notice if a weed has popped up.  But others don’t notice the weeds; they just see how beautiful the entire space is. They notice the gorgeous blooms.

I wonder if you have ever found yourself so focused on a particular behavior that you lost sight of the entire picture, such as all the good behaviors of your children?  I know I have…too often.  I don’t know about you but when my kids spend too much time on electronics, it makes me crazy.  Like really crazy.  I make big declarations and say stuff that makes zero sense to them.  Like, “Every time I see you, your face is stuck in that game.  If I find your room a mess and you are on electronics, I’m going to throw your phone into the lake and make you swim out to get it.”  (Yes, I said that!) Or, “Looking at electronics is going to make your brain mush…you literally aren’t going to be able to make a coherent sentence if you don’t start being social, getting out and doing things and stop turning your brain into a robotic, feelingless playground.  You are desensitizing your mind to the real world and I’m not happy about it!”  (Yes, I said that, too!)

Recently, after making these crazy statements to my super kind hearted, very helpful, hardworking sweet boy, my husband pointed out a few things. He said, “Hey Jess, the game he is playing has elements of physics, it’s actually a great game.  Also, have you asked him about the new devotion he started? It’s pretty interesting what he’s learning.  And I know he doesn’t keep his room as neat as you would like, but he does do his own laundry, he gets his chores done (pretty well) and he gets up with the dog.  He never complains about doing his chores or taking out the dog.  He is always on time to his tennis lessons and Spanish tutoring classes, and yesterday he played board games for 3 hours with a few kids downtown.  Not to mention he is willing to help with his little sister any time we ask!”

Well, thank you Mike Bettencourt for a nice little punch in the gut!  I would have preferred a nice stroll in the garden, not a lecture on botany!  Goodness, those are some beautiful flowers, yet all I could see were the nagging weeds.  Why have a garden if you can’t enjoy it?  Why look past all the good to hone in on the bad?  I don’t really want to reflect on this too long for fear I will find other areas of my life where I do this. So today I am taking a pause and just admiring my garden.  Pruning the flowers and pulling the weeds can wait.  I need to admire the work that’s been done and thank my heavenly Father for watering and shining the Son on the garden of my life. Thank goodness that when we fall short, He still shines bright for our families.

So friends, I hope you are encouraged today to take a pause if you need one. Take a minute to remind yourself of what you are getting right.  And hopefully the next time I start to make some big bold declaration, I will remember to look at the full garden before I’m ready to till the whole thing down!

Whew, y’all! Pray for this momma, and we’ll chat real soon!

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